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News That Matters – Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When it comes to suicide I’m all about letting you make that choice and not intervening unless we can actually solve your problems. If they’re financial, which they so often are, then if we intervene we have a responsibility to help you financially. If they’re because of a chemical imbalance and we intervene, then we have a responsibility to get you the treatment that you need to get things balanced out and keep them that way. […]

Putnam lawmakers expect to ask state for sales-tax extension

By Michael Risinit

CARMEL — Should the state not re-approve a 1 percentage point bump in Putnam County’s sales tax rate, the county may be forced to scrap road patrols by sheriff’s deputies, emergency medical services such as Advanced Life Support and other measures, Legislature Chairman Vincent Tamagna said Wednesday.

County lawmakers expect to soon ask the state Legislature for permission to keep its portion of the sales tax at 4 percent instead of 3 percent. The extra point nets the county about $11 million annually and the levy expires in November. Requesting its reauthorization could set up a showdown with state Sen. Greg Ball, R-Carmel, who opposed the measure as an assemblyman. Without that revenue, Tamagna said, the county will be forced to consider “drastic cuts or a high increase in property taxes.” The money pays for discretionary spending, he said.

via Putnam lawmakers expect to ask state for sales-tax extension | LoHud.com | The Journal News.

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New York Seizing Nassau County Finances Shows Limits of Tea Party Promises – Bloomberg

By Henry Goldman and Martin Z. Braun – Jan 27, 2011 12:01 AM ET

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo prepares to reduce state spending for the first time since 1995. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A New York oversight board’s takeover of finances in Nassau County, the wealthiest outside New York City, may make it harder for the chief executive to promote the anti-tax agenda that helped get him elected.

The Nassau County Interim Finance Authority’s action repudiated the stewardship of County ExecutiveEdward Mangano, who campaigned with Tea Party support. Mangano’s first official act repealed a heating-oil sales tax that cost the county about $40 million at a time when the longest recession since World War II was draining county receipts.

That, combined with rising labor and debt-service costs, left Mangano with an inherited deficit of about $133 million in the $2.6 billion county-funded portion of his 2010 budget. This year, he proposed $100 million in spending cuts and $60 million of increased fees and fines even as Governor Andrew Cuomo prepares to reduce state spending for the first time since 1995.

“You can promise to cut taxes all you want, but once you’re in, you can’t spend more than […]

News That Matters – Friday, January 21, 2011 – Things To Do Edition

Everyone I know who has served recently (mostly in the Marines) all knew of at least one service-member who was gay and who managed to duck under the radar so it appears to be more an issue of being “outed” than anything else. Perhaps those who do the outing should come under investigation themselves. You know, those repressed feelings about sharing a foxhole on a hot, sultry summer night with 60 testosterone-fueled men while enemy fire keeps them pinned to the ground must be too much for them. Honestly, if all they’re thinking about is sex at a time like that maybe they’re just not good soldiers. […]

News That Matters – Friday, January 7, 2011 – Taxes, Rent and Things To Do Edition

What’s more, with all the foreclosures that have taken place during the past two years and with banks seeking to cut their loses by putting some of these places up for rent, the market is in a glut and yet landlords will not come down from what they’re asking or make accommodations to get someone in there and the income flowing in again. […]

Cahill introduces education and property tax reform legislation

This article first appeared at Midhudsonnews.com

Cahill introduces education and property tax reform legislation

ALBANY – Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D–Kingston) introduced two pieces of legislation Thursday aimed at improving public education and lowering real property taxes for the residents of New York. His bills focus on modernizing the education system while easing, and subsequently eliminating, the burden of rising, regressive property taxes as a means of funding.

“We must take transformative actions if we are ever truly going to get a handle on the property tax crisis that is crippling our state,” said Cahill. “A property tax cap by itself will not solve the problem. We need to give our schools the tools they need to actually start cutting costs without sacrificing the quality of our children’s education.”

The 21st Century Schools Act is designed to curb school spending through shared services and consolidation by maximizing the utilization of BOCES and increase cooperative participation, using expanded regional approaches to pay for bigger ticket items like transportation, special education and health care. The measure also calls for a complete reexamination of school district lines in order to more efficiently deliver services to school districts. The legislation would create […]

News That Matters – Friday, August 6, 2010 – Things To Do Edition

Note to licensed contractors in Putnam County: That bi-annual tax you pay to the county for permission to work here is, for some of you, about to go up. Forget that the recession has decimated many of us financially, and that those fees are paying for a department from which we contractors earn no benefit. The county has decided that in order to educate you about new laws concerning phosphorus reduction they’re going to increase those fees to charge you for their as yet to be determined educational program. At least that’s where the legislative committee is now… stay tuned! […]

Breaking News – Who is paying the taxes at Tilly Foster?

Good Monday Afternoon,

Who is paying the $19,500 owed in property taxes at Tilly Foster Farm?

That’s a good question which Legislator Dan Birmingham would like an answer to.

In a three page memo dated today, Legislator Birmingham asks County Executive Bondi this very question and lays out the properties that are taxable and hopes that you and I will not be picking up the tab.

The three properties are:

56.-1-20.3 The Cottage – assessed at $375,000 56.-1-32.1 The rental house – assessed at $250,000 56.-1-20.4 The Country Store – assessed at $100,000

Each of these taxable parcels are being used by Preserve Putnam as income generating facilities and hold a combined property tax liability of somewhere around $19,500… or so.

Mr. Birmingham writes in part:

If I recall during these many public discussions [on the contract] , the County was assured by Preserve Putnam on numerous occasions that Tilly Foster Farm would be “self sufficient” and that the cost of the operations of Tilly Foster Farm would be borne exclusively by Preserve Putnam

I certainly hope that you would agree with me that this tax liability should not be paid for by the taxpayers of Putnam County. I […]

NtM – March 19, 2009

In a February 23rd Community View piece in the NYJN, Kent resident Vic Tiship called for a return to a progressive income tax as a way of funding education and more fairly distributing the tax burden across the state. Vic’s position on this issue closely matches mine and he and I have been successful at convincing the County Legislature and the Town of Kent to pass non-binding resolutions in favor of both and it was easy since most are in favor of fairness in our tax system. If you’re a long-time reader of this column and the blog it’s no secret that we’ve both been quite active and vocal on this issue and that people are listening… […]

News That Matters – January 8, 2009

“People here in the US don’t understand these things about constitutional rights.” – TSA Inspector Harris

Good Thursday Morning,

The amazing thing is that we didn’t loose power up here on Miller Hill Road yesterday. Sometimes, on a nice, warm sunny day the power will go out and stay out for no known reason around here. In storms, however, we’re usually out and also the very last in the county to have our power restored. 4000 homes were without power as of last evening and some are still out this morning. Here’s hoping NYSEG gets you back on line soon.

I’m thinking about getting my taxes together for 2008 and I was wondering if the new Circuit Breaker bill, based on Sandy Galef’s original proposal would affect me at all. It turns out that as a renter, it does not. In fact, there has been a property tax CB out for a while (IT-214) that only kicks in if I earn less than $18,000.

Most rents around here are pegged almost dollar-to-dollar to the cost of property taxes so when the CB kicks in for our landlords they realize a reduction in their ultimate property tax bill […]